Recently, there has been a huge uproar concerning the Mormon church, and with good reason, too: the LDS church has finally decided to take a stance on feminism in the church, in a nutshell. Before I even get into my opinion, which you may have assumed is not in favor of the church, let me tell you of my history with the church.
I was introduced to the LDS church when I was 8 years old. My best friend took me to church and introduced me to her faith. I fell in love with it. I loved the concept of the church, and that it was so family centered (for someone coming from a broken, abusive family, this meant the world to me). I continued to go to church when my parents would allow me to, and I grew quite close with my best friend’s family. When I was 19, I was officially baptized and accepted into the LDS church. Seven years later, however, I have become inactive, partially because I live in rural Japan and partially because I have become someone whose identity does not fit well with the Church. As a pansexual feminist, you can probably imagine how well I truly fit into such a strict faith, which is to say that I don’t. That said, I have been grappling with what to do with my membership in the church. As of right now, I am still a registered member, even though I haven’t been active since college. It’s been an issue I have been avoiding since now, but I think I have come to a decision as to what I am going to do.
As of this moment, I am completely and officially renouncing my membership and any further association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, for its blatant injustice to not only Kate Kelly but also to women as a whole.
This may seem out of the blue or blown out of proportion, but if I am going to be completely honest, this has been a long time coming. I simply refuse to sit idly by while blatant sexism and injustice happens because a woman is brave enough to confront an establishment that has long kept women from power. I cannot be idle in this matter. I applaud Kate Kelly for standing up for women and their rights. I also wish I could do more to help her than just write a post about my feelings. However, what I can do is to disassociate myself from the very establishment that has betrayed her and her faith. By excommunicating her for raising her voice, the LDS church has not only done an injustice to Kate Kelly, but to all women. They have finally done something that is the equivalent of “sit down and shut up” to anyone one that dares raise their voice against them. This is their warning shot, and now that they have made their stance known, so shall I.
I refuse to sit down and shut up when it comes to standing up for my rights as a woman, and no one can make me do so. Not a church, not my LDS family, not anyone. I refuse to let inequality continue to happen. I refuse to allow a group of men to define my role as a woman and tell me where I belong in their organization. Only I define myself and my role within my world. Not their God, not church leadership, no one but me.
The LDS church not only has views that oppose mine where women are concerned, but also in their stance concerning the GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) community as well. Their views are antiquated and out of touch with reality. The idea that the world fits within a binary is no longer applicable. I am not just talking same-sex marriage, I am talking acceptance as well. Those that fall under the category of GSM deserve the same rights as those that do not fall under that spectrum. This is also an injustice I refuse to accept any longer.
This move by the church, I feel, is meant to strike fear in the hearts of their believers, but I also think it has done more damage than good for itself with this move. By stripping a devout woman of her membership and the privileges therein, this sends a strong message to those who are questioning their faith or those who wish to convert to the church. I understand the need to stand by your morals, but I also know that as people grown and change, as the times change, so must your worldview. By acknowledging this with such a brute show of force on their part, they have sent the message that they are unwilling to change and grow with their followers. They have told their followers that they are rigid and unwilling to be flexible, or to even hear the opinions of those who oppose them. What message must this send those whose faith is shaky or new? I can only answer this for myself, but I can’t imagine that excommunicating a member for speaking up against such obviously ingrained sexism is going to strengthen anyone’s faith.
I wish the best for those that still remain members and associate with the LDS church. I do not, by any means, wish them ill. From here on out, however, they will have to continue without me as a member of their flock. I will not be a part of an organization that has this stance on women and the GSM community. I hope that in the future, this move is viewed as the continuation of an antiquated world view that it is. I won’t hold my breath, though.
Finally, I would like to repeat what I said earlier, just so that there are no misunderstandings:
From this moment forward, I am completely and officially renouncing my membership and any further association with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, for its blatant injustice to not only Kate Kelly but also to women as a whole.